Landowners of the Solwara One, Sea Bed Mining Project in Namatanai District of New Ireland Province want all stakeholders to establish a proper Seabed Mining Act prior to operations.
They say currently, there are 116 tenements for Seabed Mining Explorations and as landowners of the first bed mining project in the country, they want to be recognized as owners of the sea and not users.
The landowners want the developer Nautilus Minerals to include them in any Memorandum of Agreements regarding benefit sharing and royalties from the first ever Seabed Mining Project to be trialed in Papua New Guinea.
Their desire is to participate and fully benefit from spin-offs that will arise from the seabed mining project when operations start.
The landowner team is led by PNG Defence Force Retired Colonel William Bartley, Retired Major Matthew Nelson and Chairman of West Coast Central Seabed Mining Landowner Association, Benson Tomarum.
They say they want assurance that when operations begin, there will be no environmental damage to the sea which is their livelihood. They also want another environmental impact study to be conducted and feedback from the international community.
They have captured their eight – point petition to be presented to Mining Minister Byron Chan whose electorate of Namatanai is where the project is located.
Nautilus Minerals Niugini Limited, Country Manager Mel Togolo on the contrary said the company has good relations with the landowners. On the issue of MOA’s and MOU’s, Mr Togolo said Nautilus Minerals only signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the Provincial government on how they should cooperate going forward.
On the environmental impact assessment, Mr Togolo said there’s still opportunity for the people to bring in their concerns, should they feel there are environmental implications.
He said in any mineral development, there are processes under our laws and urged landowner leaders not to mislead the people.
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